Applying to MS Programs

Prospective graduate students will find guidance navigating the application process, from understanding eligibility criteria to securing a thesis supervisor, in this page.


All application materials must be submitted through the Graduate College's application portal.
They will be reviewed once the College determines the application to be complete.

Will I be eligible for your program? And when can I apply?
Applications must be made per the deadlines for the  School  found on the UTRGV Graduate College website. As acceptance is competitive and may be dependent on current opening if any, you want to apply early before the deadline. 

When is the application deadline?
These can be found via the UTRGV Graduate College website.

How much is the application fee? Can it be waived?
This information can be provided directly by the Graduate College.

Application Problems
If you experience problems with applying through the Graduate College’s application portal, please contact them directly.  


Do I need to contact any faculty before applying? Do I need to secure a supervisor before admission is granted?
Yes, all thesis students must have permission of a graduate supervisor before admission. The name of the supervisor MUST be included in the application Letter of Interest.

How to I find a Thesis Graduate Supervisor?
You need to find a faculty member that you share similar research interests with and who is accepting students. Here are some things to consider: If you are a thesis student, choosing your Graduate Supervisor is one of the most important decisions. The  Master's  student is expected to have a "mastery" of the subject upon their completion of coursework and their thesis. You should consider the following in making your choice:

  • SIBCS Faculty information can be found on our website.
  • Decide what specifically you are interested in studying. Years ago, a professor told me that he had potential graduate students contact him to study "frogs" and that he would not consider them. Why? Because it showed the student was not familiar with the professor's research, which included the territorial defense by male frogs. Here is another example. If you were requesting that I be your supervisor, you would not want to simply say to me that you are interested in “bones.” It is important to have begun thinking about the specifics that you will explore in your thesis work (if you are a  Thesis-track student).  Professors also would expect you to expand on this when preparing your cover letter/statement of interests in your graduate application.
  • Review the faculty and see what their research areas are. Look of the research areas and publications of potential faculty to find a good match with your personal research interests. This can be done by reviewing the Faculty found on the Edinburg and Brownsville campuses and also looking at Internet sites, such as  Google Scholar and  ResearchGate
    • In Google Scholar, you can search for publications produced by the faculty member and often may have access to pdfs of them. You can also search for their "profile."
    • ResearchGate is similar by providing a Discover Research search engine.
    • Then, read papers published by the faculty member that you are interested in working with. This will give you an idea of their research areas and current research. You can see who  a good match with your interests would be. Also, find out what classes your potential graduate supervisor teaches.
    • Contact the faculty member to see if they are currently accepting graduate students. If they are, ask to meet the professor to discuss your potential at becoming a graduate student. You could also send your curriculum vitae (CV) to them before you meet. Always follow-up with thank you emails.
    • Ask if there is the opportunity to work on a current project or whether you will be expected to develop your own thesis topic.
    • Ask is there is any opportunity to work on a project that is grant funded and if you could be considered for a Graduate Research Assistantship (GRA)


How many letters of recommendation are needed?
See the MS Biology, Chemistry, or Biochemistry and Molecular Degree Programs requirements as provided through the Graduate College. If you are pursing the Thesis Option, it is a good idea to have one of the letters written by your prospective Thesis Supervisor.


Is there any available source to know how many students are accepted each semester?
Acceptance is based on the number of openings that a thesis faculty advisor would have available. All admission applications are provided a holistic review conducted by the SIBCS Graduate Committee. 


Do I need to submit GRE scores before admission is granted and what is the minimum required scores?
Currently, the GRE is waived temporarily for MS Biology, MS Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and MS Chemistry applicants through Summer 2024 applications. No specific GRE scores are required for the School. It may only be waived is an applicant has already earned a USA MS or PhD equivalent. 


Do I need to submit TOEFL scores before admission is granted? Can the English proficiency test be waived. Do you accept Duolingo English Test and what is the required scores for admission? What is the minimum requirement of IELTS for admission?
All TOEFL information can be found on the Graduate School website under International Admission. You also can contact them directly for any TOEFL questions. 


Can I submit my unofficial academic Transcript?
Yes, however your admission is not possible until everything is completed. Official transcripts are required.


Do you accept WES evaluated transcript? And can I upload my Unofficial WES evaluated transcript for admission purposes?
This information can be found on the Graduate School website under International Admissions. The Graduate School can also aid with applying. 


This information can be found on the Graduate School website under International Admissions. The Graduate School can also provide assistance with applying. 


Is there a guaranteed funding through graduate teaching and research assistantship?*
Nothing is guaranteed, and you should expect costs to attend.  

Potential funding comes from Graduate Teaching Assistantships, Scholarships, Dean’s Research Assistantship (highly competitive and provide from the Dean’s Office) and from grants held by a Graduate Thesis Supervisor.

The School of Integrative Biological and Chemical Sciences does not provide direct funding for graduate students. Funding is usually a flat stipend to be used for tuition, fees, medical insurance, and housing, and may not cover all expenses. Recommendations for Funding are made by the School after the application deadlines for Fall and Spring.


Is tuition covered?
Tuition and/or housing is rarely covered except in case where you are a Thesis Student being funded by a grant or by your Graduate Supervisor, and the grant allows for it.



Are Graduate Teaching Assistantships available?
The School of Integrative Biological and Chemical Sciences may have openings for GTAs. Further information may be provided after a student is accepted into the program. A graduate teaching assistantship is a flat stipend of $7500 single semester (paid monthly over the semester) and $ 15,000 two semesters. Students are required to maintain good standing, 9 credits a semester, and all other graduate student requirements (e.g., medical insurance). Once accepted, students interested in being a Graduate Teaching (GTA) or Research (GRA) Assistant must submit an SIBCS Assistantship Application.


Are fellowships awarded?
Graduate fellowships, Presidential Research Assistantship (PRF) and Dean’s Research Assistantship (DRF) are highly competitive. To be considered, your Thesis Supervisor will need to send a letter of support to the Graduate Program Coordinator.


Are scholarships available?
All competitive and financial based scholarships that are available and instructions can be found on the Graduate College section of the UTRGV website. The College of Science has a very limited number of competitive scholarships that are generally reserved for thesis students only. 


Federal and state financial aid is handled through the Financial Aid Office.

If you are not eligible to complete the FAFSA because of citizenship or visa status but are eligible to be classified as a Texas resident for tuition purposes, you may be eligible under SB1528 to apply for state financial aid through the Texas Application for State Financial Aid (TASFA). Application packets are available by contacting the Financial Aid Office.


Are campus jobs available?
All student employment options are through the Student Employment Office. Students are limited to working only 19 hours per week.

Contact Us

For questions or assistance please reach out to:

School Director
Robert K. Dearth, Ph.D.

School Associate Director
Kathryn E. Perez, Ph.D.

Biology Undergraduate Program Coordinator
Tobias Weinrich, Ph.D.

Biology and Chemistry Graduate Program Coordinator
Frank Dirrigl, Ph.D.

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Graduate Program Coordinator
Yonghong Zhang, Ph.D.

Julie Perez,
Administrative Assistant II

Daisy Garcia,
Administrative Assistant II